Which Tree To Plant?

What tree species?

Healthy urban trees in our region need to be drought tolerant, sized right for the place they will be planted, and provide shade and other benefits. 

Consider these factors:

  • How big do you want your tree to be when it is mature?
  • What tree form/shape is right for your spot? (Round, weeping, spreading, or upright?)
  • How about character, color, and special features? (Evergreen, deciduous, native, flowering, etc.)
  • How much time do you have for maintenance?

Kate’s urban forester is working with our local wholesale nursery and local retail nurseries to offer about ten shade trees and six native trees for purchase, and the trees under consideration are listed below. A longer list of suitable trees is available in this table [need to insert table]. Other trees can be identified by browsing UFEI’s Tree Selection Guide.

Recommended Native Tree Species

Large = >50 ft, Medium= ≥30 and <50 ft, Small = ≤25 ft (planting space)
Cercis occidentaliswestern redbudvery goodsmall
Chilopsis linearis ‘ Monhewsdesert willow ‘Timeless Beauty’very goodsmall
Heteromeles arbutifoliatoyonvery goodsmall
Lavatera assurgentifloratree mallowgoodsmall
Myrica californicaPacific wax myrtlegoodsmall
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. LyoniiCatalina cherrymoderatesmall
Sambucus nigra ssp. caeruleaMexican elderberrymoderatesmall
Fraxinus velutinaArizona ashmoderatemedium
Hesperocyparis (Cupressus) forbesiiTecate cypressvery goodmedium
Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. asplenifoliusfernleaf Catalina ironwoodmoderatemedium
Parkinsonia microphillablue palo verdevery goodmedium
Prosopis glandulosahoney mesquitevery goodmedium
Pinus torreyanaTorrey pinevery goodlarge
Platanus racemosa.California sycamoremoderatelarge
Populus fremontiiFremont cottonwoodmoderatelarge
Quercus agrifoliacoast live oakvery goodlarge
Quercus chrysolepiscanyon live oakvery goodlarge
Quercus engelmanniiEngelmann oakvery goodlarge
Salix gooddingiiblack willowmoderatelarge
Umbellularia californicaCalifornia bay laurelgoodlarge

Recommended Showy or Fragrant Flowering Tree Species

Scientific NameCommon NameDrought ToleranceSize
Cassia leptophyllagold medalliongoodsmall
Cercidium x ‘ Desert MuseumDesert Museum palo verdevery goodsmall
Chionanthus retususChinese fringe treemoderatesmall
Handroanthus heptaphyllus aka Tabebuia impetiginosapink trumpet treemoderatesmall
Lagerstromia indicacrape myrtlegoodsmall
Osmanthus fragranssweet olivevery goodsmall
Parkinsonia floridablue palo verdevery goodsmall
Albizia julibrissinmimosavery goodmedium
Bauhinia x blakeanaHong Kong orchidmoderatemedium
Calodendrum capensecape chestnutmoderatemedium
Scientific NameCommon NameDrought ToleranceSize
Handroanthus chrysotricha aka Tabebeuia pulcherrima)golden trumpet treemoderatemedium
Hymenosporum flavumsweetshademoderatemedium
Koelreuteria bipinnataChinese flame treegoodmedium
Markhamia lutea aka Markhamia hildebrandtiigold markhamiagoodmedium
Metrosideros excelsaNew Zealand Christmas treegoodmedium
Pyrus calleryana ‘ Aristocratcallery pearmoderatemedium
Robinia ‘ Purple Robepurple robe locustvery goodmedium
x Chitalpa tashkentensischitalpagoodmedium
Jacaranda mimosifoliajacarandagoodmed‐large
Tipuana tiputipuvery goodmed‐large

Recommended Street Right‐of‐way Tree Species

Small Scale Trees (parkways between 2‐ft and 4‐ft wide or larger):
Acacia podalyriifoliapearl acaciavery goodsmall (2’‐4′)
Comarostaphylis diversifolia aka Arctostaphylos diversifoliasummer hollygoodsmall (2’‐4′)
Eriobotrya deflexabronze loquatvery goodsmall (2’‐4′)
Photinia x fraseriFrasier photiniagoodsmall (2’‐4′)
Rhaphiolepis indica ‘ Majestic BeautyMajestic Beauty ‐ India hawthorngoodsmall (2’‐4′)
Agonis flexuosapeppermint treegoodsmall (2’‐4′)
Medium Scale Trees (parkways between 4‐ft and 6‐ft wide or larger):
Arbutus x ‘ MarinaMarina strawberry treemoderatemedium 4‐6
Laurus nobilisGrecian laurel or sweet baygoodmedium 4‐6
Magnolia grandiflora ‘ St. MarySt. Mary’s Magnoliamoderatemedium 4‐6
Olea europaeafruitless olive ONLYvery goodmedium 4‐6
Podocarpus macrophyllusyew pinegoodmedium 4‐6
Tristania laurinawater gumgoodmedium 4‐6
Large Scale Trees (parkways between 6‐ft and 10‐ft wide or larger):
Afrocarpus falcatus aka Podocarpus graciliorfern pinemoderatelarge 6‐10
Angophora costata aka Angophora cordifoliarose gumvery goodlarge 6‐10
Cupressus forbesii aka Hesperocyparis forbesiiTecate cypressvery goodlarge 6‐10
Magnolia grandiflora ‘ Samuel Sommersouthern magnoliamoderatelarge 6‐10
Quercus subercork oakvery goodlarge 6‐10
Ulmus parvifolia ‘True Green’Chinese elmgoodlarge 6‐10
Largest Scale Trees (parkways between 10‐ft wide or larger):
Cinnamomum camphoracamphorgoodlarger ≤10
Ficus macrocarpa ‘ Green GemIndian laurel figgoodlarger ≤10
Fraxinus udheievergreen ashmoderatelarger ≤10
Lophostemon confertusBrisbane Boxgoodlarger ≤10
Quercus virginianasouthern live oakgoodlarger ≤10

Kate Sessions Recommended Fruit Tree Species

Large = >50 ft, Medium= ≥30 and <50 ft, Small = ≤25 ft (planting space)
Acca sellowianapineapple guavavery goodsmall
Annona cherimolacherimoyamoderatemedium
Casimiroa edulissapotegoodlarge
Diospyros kakipersimmonmoderatemedium
Eriobotrya japonicaJapanese loquatvery goodmedium
Ficus edulisfigvery goodvariable
Macadamia spp.macadamiagoodmedium
Malpighia emarginataacerola cherrygoodmedium
Malus domesticaapplemoderatesmall
Morus nigramulberryvery goodsmall
Psidium guajavatropical guavagoodmedium
Psidium littoralestrawberry/lemon guavagoodsmall
Punica granatumpomegranatevery goodsmall
Ziziphus jujubajujubevery goodmedium